By Linda Lovely
The idea of writing a book was an occasional, fleeting thought. Sometimes I figured out a mystery before reaching the half-way point in a book and thought I could do better. Other times I’d roll my eyes at the actions of a wimpy or TSTL—too stupid to live—heroine and think MY heroine would be much braver and smarter.
But these were random thoughts. I was busy trying to make a living. We had just moved to the South Carolina coast for my husband’s job, and I’d recently sold my interest in a partnership, which required me to honor a non-compete clause. That meant I needed new clients.
|I've always been a writer. But writing a book? It took an|
expensive lesson for me to decide, "Yes, I can."
The contact turned out to be a duo—two disinherited members of a famous, wealthy family. They wanted to make some money by revealing juicy tales about their relatives and, not incidentally, extract some revenge on people they felt had wronged them.
Their tales of birthday parties at 21, private jets, exclusive schools, fabulous estates, and, okay, drugs and kinky sex, were so far from my life experiences that I was fascinated. We signed a contract. It gave me a fair share of the royalties once the book was published, and they’d pay all my expenses for travel and research, but no advance. What did I have to lose?
I should have asked a lawyer. I didn’t. Bottom line? I spent months doing research. I traveled with them to visit former haunts. I read related books. I outlined the entire book, wrote perhaps a third of the book as well as a proposal. We secured a well-known, New York literary agent to represent us.
The agent let the cat out of the bag. The ensuing negotiations—I wasn’t included—led to a multi-million dollar family arrangement, essentially a bribe to not publish the book or reveal any of its contents. A provision in my contract said I could not disclose my clients' identities or use any of my research without their permission. If I did, I’d be sued.
So, I wound up spending hundreds of hours on a project that cost me money. Do I regret it? Not one bit. I learned I could, indeed, write a book. I also had an opportunity to hear first-hand tales about famous people and lifestyles beyond anything I could imagine. Plenty of material for fictional plots and characters. I also decided that what I really wanted to do was write fiction. And I vowed I would be the only one to decide if a book should be published.
Of course, I didn’t immediately sit down and start writing a novel. I took fiction writing courses and continued to work hard for paying clients to earn a living. Now I’m happily at a place where I can write what I want—mysteries and suspense coupled with laughter and love. I hope you’ll check out my new humorous Brie Hooker Mystery series when it debuts this October.